September 7, 2023, by Rebekah
My Placement with Fearless Youth Association
by Jodie Swann , 3rd Year Geography student
During the spring semester of my final year, I was fortunate enough to complete an 8-week placement with Fearless Youth Association (FYA), a non-profit organisation that offers young people and the local community the opportunity to engage in training and skills development. My role as a Climate Change Specialist was an incredibly valuable opportunity, which allowed me to develop both my application and interviewing skills, gain crucial professional experience in the workplace, and contributed towards the Nottingham Advantage Award.
The application process
The application process was nice and easy to complete. I initially found the Social Sciences Placement Programme through our Geography weekly newsletter and, after reading the eligibility criteria and what was involved, decided I should give it a try! When looking through the roles, I tried to find a placement that aligned with my interests and potential career goals. I knew I was interested in an environmental-orientated job in the future, and the role and job description FYA provided matched this perfectly. Whilst I initially doubted my experience and whether I would be suitable for the role, I applied with the mindset that it was worth a try. After an in-person interview, which felt more like a friendly chat, I then received an email a few days later saying I had been successful! Therefore, I would encourage anyone to ‘give it a try’ to apply for a placement. The worst that can happen is that you’re unsuccessful, in which case no harm done, and you still gain useful experience for future job applications!
My experience on placement
My role as a Climate Change Specialist required me to research and produce a variety of written content for the FYA website, including research articles, a sustainability report for the organisation and finishing three climate change information booklets for different audiences (local businesses/organisations, young people/students and young children/adults with learning difficulties). The majority of my placement was independent work, which I really enjoyed as I was free to research and write about what I wanted/was interested in. However, my supervisor was very supportive throughout the placement and regularly offered me advice and feedback when I needed it. The work environment itself was also incredibly welcoming to all the placement students and it was nice to feel like part of the team, we even joined in with the monthly team bonding activities such as painting!
Completing projects was also rewarding in itself! The work helped me to further develop my career skills in professional communication and data analysis, and it was really motivating to feel like I was contributing towards the work at FYA.
Challenges on placement
The placement ran very smoothly, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the biggest challenge I faced was definitely trying to balance a one-day-a-week placement with 3rd year, my dissertation and a part-time job. However, I found this experience really helped to improve my time management skills, and it was completely achievable! My placement supervisor was also very understanding and flexible with what days I worked, which was helpful when it came to my dissertation deadline!
Final tips and advice!
- Give it a try – there’s nothing to lose by applying for a placement and so much to potentially gain!
- Career choices – completing a placement really helps you work out what areas/ types of jobs you might want to try in the future (tip: your application can also be used as a starting point for applications to other internships or graduate jobs you might be interested in)
- Be confident and believe in yourself and your abilities – we tend to be our own worst critics and in the past, my negative self-talk had prevented me from applying to opportunities I was interested in. You would always support and encourage a friend with anything they applied to, so why wouldn’t you treat yourself the same?
If you are interested in learning more about Fearless Youth Association and their amazing work, visit their website: https://fyaonline.com/
To read my sustainability report, follow this link: https://fyaonline.com/our-projects/climate-change-research
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